By Colombo Telegraph
“Bogollagama said the GSL was very concerned about using Fonseka as a source of ‘prying’ into the actions of the government in Sri Lanka and was seeking ‘immediate action’ to prevent anything further from happening on November 4. He claimed that their sources told them that Department of Homeland Security had investigated war crimes in the past.” the US Embassy Colombo informed to Washington.
The Colombo Telegraph found the relevant leaked cable from the WikiLeak database. The cable recount details of a meeting the US Ambassador has had with the Foreign Minister Bogollagama on November 2, 2009. The cable classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” by the Deputy Chief of Mission Valerie C. Fowler.
The US Ambassador Butenis wrote “Bogollagama said what concerned the GSL were reports that a DHS lawyer had allegedly told Fonseka that the purpose of the interview was to gather information about the possible involvement in war crimes of SL Defense Secretary and president’s brother and U.S. citizen Gotabhaya Rajapaksa”
“Bogollagama said any questioning of Fonseka about SL ‘official’ information would be frowned upon by the GSL and ‘could seriously impact our relationship.’” She further wrote.
On November 2, Foreign Minister Bogollagama called in Ambassador regarding reports that the U.S Department of Homeland Security had requested that Sri Lankan Chief of Defense (CHOD) Sarath Fonseka come in for a ‘voluntary’ interview with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Oklahoma City on November 4.
Related news link to this cable- WikiLeaks: Fonseka’s Hawaii visit cancelled due to his involvement in human-rights violations
Related news link to Fonseka’s DHS interview – WikiLeaks: Fonseka tried to shift blame on war crime to Gota
Below we give a part of the confidential cable.
VZCZCXRO6168 OO RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR DE RUEHLM #1006/01 3061237 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 021237Z NOV 09 FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0714 INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 2003 RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 9039 RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7277 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5196 RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3431 RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 5148 RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0021 RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 0683 RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 4259 RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 9602 RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 6896 RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 1357 RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3806 RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 001006 SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/02/2019 TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE SUBJECT: MFA CALLS IN AMBASSADOR OVER DHS QUESTIONING OF CHOD FONSEKA COLOMBO 00001006 001.2 OF 003 Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION VALERIE C. FOWLER. REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D). ¶1. (C) On November 2, Foreign Minister Bogollagama called in Ambassador regarding reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had requested that Sri Lankan Chief of Defense (CHOD) Sarath Fonseka come in for a "voluntary" interview with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Oklahoma City on November 4. (NOTE: Fonseka is a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) in the United States and has family and property in Oklahoma. He currently is in the U.S. visiting family and re-establishing his LPR status. END NOTE.) Bogollagama said the interview was a matter of "urgency and relevance" to the government of Sri Lanka (GSL) and asked for information to "help us understand and formulate a proper reaction." ¶2. (C) Ambassador recounted recent developments regarding Fonseka, including cancellation of his invitation to attend the recent Chiefs of Defense conference in Hawaii due to U.S. concerns about his involvement in human-rights violations during the conflict with the LTTE. She also explained that as a green-card holder, Fonseka was required by U.S. law to confirm his status as an LPR. But as regards the DHS request to see Fonseka on November 4, Ambassador said she did not know the specific reason for the invitation. ¶3. (C) Bogollagama said what concerned the GSL were reports that a DHS lawyer had allegedly told Fonseka that the purpose of the interview was to gather information about the possible involvement in war crimes of SL Defense Secretary (and president's brother and U.S. citizen) Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. He said the GSL was very concerned about using Fonseka as a source for "prying" into the actions of the government in Sri Lanka and was seeking "immediate action" to prevent anything further from happening on November 4. He claimed that their sources (presumably the law firm Patton Boggs, which embassy understands has been hired to represent the GSL) told them that DHS had investigated war crimes in the past. Bogollagama said any questioning of Fonseka about SL "official" information would be frowned upon by the GSL and "could seriously impact our relationship." BUTENIS
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